Vendors should take a bold stance when it comes to the Internet of Things (IoT), but implementers can’t afford to bet on that. Instead, they need to take the lead, from investing in research to starting pilot programs. Positioned between vendors and clients, they are at the center of a post-digital revolution, putting them in the ideal position to act as bridges that link the two sides together.
The need for good bridges is clear, as the worldwide IoT market is forecast to grow from $1.3 trillion in 2013 to $3.04 trillion in 2020. To be ready to serve this massive demand, system integrators need to work not only with forward-thinking clients but also with vendors who have built change into the blueprint of their company and their software. By taking an active role in adopting IoT strategies now, implementers can take ownership of their role and leadership in the field.
Rapid Transformations Need Rapid Responses
With the IoT space transforming in front of our eyes, implementers need to be able to change and adapt rapidly. The number of devices connected to the IoT is growing exponentially, but the software for integrating these products is in a state of flux, as players experiment with different ways to exploit the IoT.
“We are entering a post digital world where the digital state is becoming default," explains Iskander Smit, strategy director of info.nl. “We like to call it the Internet of Daily Life.”
It’s About Enhancing Value, Not Providing Gimmicks
According to Adriano Bezerra-Delaunay, account director of Aperto Move, Aperto’s Lean Innovation task force, the IoT is about how implementers can address the needs of people from a brand and service perspective. In other words, it has to be meaningful for clients and consumers. Beacons are one area where this can happen.
Christian Koop, Managing Director of t8y.com, points out how beacon technology has become cheaper and easier to use. The company is currently offering clients the possibility to use a beacon management app.
As just one example, a beacon app for a museum would likely need to provide multimedia content in multiple languages. This already makes a strong case for using a CMS as its backend. By gathering data about visitors and their habits, museums can improve their exhibitions and provide real-time information.
However, they shouldn’t stop there. They need to go one step further by connecting the museum app to their CRM and e-commerce systems, thus monetizing that relationship far beyond what is possible today.
If implementers only look at “how can we provide localized content?” -- a question that can easily be answered with a beacon and an ad-hoc backend written with a couple of lines of code -- they miss the value creation that could be provided. However, if they combine beacon technology with the right digital platform, they can transform CRM within their companies.
7 Steps To Stay Ahead
How implementers can stay ahead of the curve:
1.Carry out a full review of what your chosen platforms can and can’t do. Make sure that you’re working with a best-of-breed platform that allows quick innovation and integration with other systems as needed.
2.Talk to your clients and vendors about their IoT strategy. Since you have a privileged insight into your clients’ business, suggest ways they can capitalize on the IoT to gain new customers and offer new services to existing ones.
3. Think outside of screens. The IoT is about much more. For Aperto, IoT is the natural extension of mobile-first. “People want to interact seamlessly with brands and services and not just focus on the medium,” says Adriano Bezerra-Delaunay, account director of Aperto Move. “Thus a more natural interaction with things is a must have for future applications from a user experience perspective.”
4. Grab the golden opportunity of doing pilot projects now. This allows you to test the technology on a small scale to identify the easy wins that you can deliver.
5.Carry out IoT research, just as info.nl does. “We’ve created partnerships with the Universities of Applied Sciences of Amsterdam and Rotterdam to commission research projects in intelligent environments and pervasive technology,” explains Iskander Smit, strategy director.
6.Invest in new areas. Aperto are currently investing in "know how" in different sub areas of IoT in order to help current and prospective customers with their strategies. They also predict that IoT products will require investments in product design and hardware development capabilities not typically found in digital agencies.
7.See the bigger picture. Just looking at how you can use a beacon or device in your marketing strategy is a bit shortsighted if it’s not integrated in your digital business platform. Down the road, the real value lies in integrating it with the rest of your system to create stronger relationships with customers. That’s the value of technologies that allow you to quickly adapt to changing requirements, yet provide a solid set of functionality to create lasting customer value.